You only have to turn on QVC or Shark Tank to see how many people want to start their own business and have good ideas. Indeed, small business is the backbone of the USA. Here are some steps you can use to make your own dream of owning a small business come true.
- It all starts with an idea, your idea.
- Ensure there is a need.
- Have a plan.
Step 1: Make Sure It Is Something Consumers Want Or Need. Do your research and make sure your idea will sell and that you are an expert in it. If it is in a market that is already well saturated, find a way to do it better, faster, or cheaper. Or find a new angle.
If there is no market for your product or service, you should probably come up with a new idea. Note: Just because there is no product or service out there does not mean it is not needed. Talk to industry people and ask their advice. Successful people love to talk about how they became successful. You can find them at the Chamber of Commerce or join your local professional organizations. Your goal is to fill a need.
Step 2: Write a business plan. This helps to organize your thoughts. It can give you a timeline and you can put all the information in it you need for things to do.
This step will help you qualify for loans if you need them. Also, if your product or service needs to be protected by patent or copyright, you will need this information as well as the information below.
Step 3: Necessary Legal Info: You will need paperwork. Some will be virtual; some will be literal paper. Keep good records. You should go over the following information with a lawyer. You will need contracts, invoicing paperwork, payment apps like Venmo and/or PayPal, a website for online presence and you will need to decide if you will be a corporation or an LLC. You will also need software to keep track of your income and expenses. Many entrepreneurs also hire an accountant to help with timing of tax payments (you may need to pay quarterly) and deductions.
You will also need to decide if you are going to be a work from home business or if you will need a retail outlet or an office. This is not as hard as it looks. Most of it can be done easily online and there are usually classes at your local library for free. In addition, the Small Business Administration offers a lot of resources to help you get started. https://learn.sba.gov/dashboard.
Step 4: Check With The Small Business Administration. They have websites in your state and also in your city. That way, you can ensure you are meeting all the regulations and have all of the paperwork filed that you need, especially if you are opening a retail or office space and intend to have employees or want to start a nonprofit.
Step 5: Sum Up Your Business In 10 Seconds Or Less. I create personalized coffee mugs, or I write SEO content. You should tell everyone all the time what you do and be specific. That way, if they are in a conversation with someone else, they can say, hey, I just met Susan, she gave me a card, and she happens to make personalized coffee mugs. You should call her. Be as visible as possible on the internet as well as in person.
Step 6: Learn About Social Media. There are free and paid internet options galore. Find out what works for your competition. You don’t need to be an expert, but you do need to know what works for your business. A note about social media. Pick one or two areas that are proven to work for your business and target market and become good at those. Then expand. Don’t take on too much at once.
Follow these steps, be persistent and you will be well on your way to making a career from your idea. Good luck!